Naramata BC is probably the quietest community you'll visit in the Okanagan Valley, but it's also one of the most unique. Located about 15 Km from downtown Penticton, is a small quiet waterfront village with an interesting history of cultural arts dating back to the early 1900's. It's a great place to visit and is perfect for romantic weekend getaways and a weekend wine tour.
There are some wonderful treasures in the village, which crosses the path of the Kettle Valley Trail, and along the way to get there that are well worth a day of exploring.
Today, this quiet little village of just over 2,000 people offers you charming and unique treats through it's thriving cottage industries, including pottery, clay-works, designer clothing and jewelry, essential oils & aromatherapy, a Lavender farm, woodworking, upscale antiques, metal sculptor, mixed media art, art glass, paintings and other arts.
In the early days, this community was a cultural arts center for concerts, plays, operas and regattas. People would come to the village from across the Okanagan Valley by boat for all of these events.
History tells a story of the village founder's affinity for the occult, and that he came by the town name at a seance he attended that was held by the local postmasters wife. The seance celebrated the spirit of a Sioux chief, Naramata. And the town that was named after her means 'Smile of the Manitou'.
For years, this agricultural community thrived on fruit growing, mainly apples, with peaches, pears, cherries and apricots as well. As the Okanagan Valley grew as a wine producing region, so have the wineries along the bench lands between the village and the city of Penticton, which is now known as the 'Naramata Bench'.
When the Kettle Valley Railway was completed in 1914, Naramata village became a transportation link between southeastern British Columbia, an area rich in mineral resources, and the coastal BC, the population and economic hub of the province.
Nearly 60 years later, as highways and infrastructure became more developed in the Okanagan Valley, the historic KVR carried its last train through Naramata.
The KVR route is now part of the 18,000 kilometre Trans Canada Trail system.
The remnants of the KVR, including the train tunnels, rock ovens, and the railway right-of-way which clings to the hillside above Okanagan Lake above Naramata make for great days of exploring the area.
The KVR trail follows along above Naramata Road past the village to the Little Tunnel.
You can walk or bike through and enjoy the beautiful views of the Okanagan Valley as you come out the other side.
In the summertime a great day to visit the village is on a Wednesday afternoon, when you can take in the community market.
Beginning in June and through to September, on Wednesday afternoons we enjoy delicious, freshly prepared foods and unique crafts by local artists and artisans.
There's always something new that we haven't tried before, and it's usually in the form of a fresh artisan bread or pastry.
While you're there, another great place to visit is the Lavender Farm, known as Forest Green Man Lavender, where they grow their own lavender and have a retail store where you can buy their handmade lavender products. If you love essential oils they also distill their own lavender oil on the farm.
After the market, we spend the rest of our day at the local Manitou Park & beach in the village for a quiet peaceful escape from the busier beaches in nearby Penticton.
The park includes huge grass areas, a playground, ball fields, picnic tables, change rooms, washrooms, horseshoe pitch, volleyball court and is a family beach.
There is also a pet friendly beach next to Manitou Park.
If you don't feel like the beach, you could spend some time at Wharf Park, which is the original site of the 'Old Dock', where sternwheelers and barges once traveled in and out of carrying passengers, fruit and cargo. Although the original dock has been replaced, you'll find some of the most beautiful views from there, and you can walk through the park and enjoy the scenery.
On the August long weekend holiday, visit the August Fair, where Manitou Park is filled with live music, food, games, and artisans. This is a family event, that is jam packed every year.
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